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Last minute VS planned holidays

The pros and cons of both

How to save money, whichever route you choose

Can you make bigger savings by booking ahead or going last-minute? They both have good points and bad. We weigh up the pros and cons as well as giving you a few not so secret tips on how to save money on those holidays.

At a glance

  • Both have pros and cons so you will need to prioritise what you want from your holiday
  • Booking ahead gives you more choice
  • Last minute bookings can be great value

Why book ahead?

Plane tickets are cheaper when there are more seats available, which means advance booking often pays.

Booking ahead means you’ll have more choice when it comes to flight times, airports and accommodation. Waiting might mean you’re stuck on the 5am flight – although if you've got a baby, you’re probably used to early starts!

If you’re travelling at a busy time, like Christmas or the school holidays, prices are unlikely to drop, no matter how late you leave it.

You’re more likely to get places in the crèche or kids’ club if you book ahead.

If you’re travelling in a group, booking ahead will guarantee there’s room for all of you.

Need vaccinations? If you’re jetting to somewhere exotic, you’ll need to leave enough time for the vaccines and medicine to work.

Booking ahead gives you more time to look forward to the trip!

Why wait?

Unfilled hotel rooms can be sold off last-minute and can be great value. In the same way, some airlines discount seats that they haven't sold. So leaving it to the very last minute can bag you a great deal. Some of the best late deals can be found for cruise holidays - and they are usually all-inclusive.

10 tips for getting the best deal on your holiday

  • Sign up to airline e-newsletters - That way you’ll find out about upcoming sales
  • Travel mid-week - Many airlines charge more to fly on Fridays and Sundays
  • Fly on a Tuesday - Travel agents say that this is when most seats are usually available
  • Stay over a Saturday night - You’ll often get the cheapest flight if your trip covers a Saturday, as business travellers want to get home for the weekend
  • Be flexible about your accommodation - If you’re not so fussed about where you stay, you’ll find it easier to get a deal
  • Avoid the school holidays - Easier said than done if you've got older kids, but it will make your holiday much, much cheaper
  • Be open-minded about where you go - There’ll always be a premium on the trendiest destinations, so be prepared to look off the beaten track
  • Book at least nine months before you go - That’s when you’ll get the real early-bird deals
  • Or wait until the day before! - When you can blag the low-rate last-minute bargains
  • Check the weather - Found a cheapo trip to the Caribbean? There might be a reason it’s so affordable – holidays cost much less during hurricane season.

At a glance

  • Both have pros and cons so you will need to prioritise what you want from your holiday
  • Booking ahead gives you more choice
  • Last minute bookings can be great value
If you decide on a last minute holiday, make sure you have left enough time for vaccinations if you need them

Last minute VS planned holidays